Green has one foot on the plane

PUBLISHED: 11:42 24 March 2006 | UPDATED: 09:18 14 September 2010

Robert Green's hopes of booking himself a World Cup place this summer today received a massive boost after it was revealed that his long-time rival for the number three goalkeeping slot - West Bromwich Albion's Chris Kirkland - is out for the rest of the season.

Robert Green's hopes of booking himself a World Cup place this summer today received a massive boost after it was revealed that his long-time rival for the number three goalkeeping slot - West Bromwich Albion's Chris Kirkland - is out for the rest of the season.

Kirkland, on loan at The Hawthorns from Liverpool, broke the tip of a finger in training and is now a certain non-starter for Germany this summer.

It is just the latest injury misfortune to befall the 24-year-old, who had already lost his first-team slot to Poland's Tomasz Kuszczak following a kick to the kidneys sustained in the Baggies' Premiership clash with Bolton Wanderers.

Kirkland was reported to be “distraught” at his latest injury blow, which leaves the door wide open for Green to join undisputed England No 1 Paul Robinson and David James on the plane to Germany.

Indeed, England goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence hinted as much earlier this week with Kirkland's lack of first-team action fatally undermining his World Cup hopes - even before his latest setback.

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